The ol' what to get for the new guy thread

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Nov 6, 2011

I've been inspired to start riding with some friends but admittedly know next to nothing about bikes. Doing some Google research and browsing these forums I was thinking that a hardtail is the way to go for me, as I'm looking at doing road riding plus some light offroading.

I've been looking at the Specialised Hardrock Sport Disc and the Jamis Trail X3, which both appear to sound like ok entry level bikes. I was also looking at the Specialised Rockhopper, but couldn't really work out why it was more expensive that the Hardrock. Are there any other good all rounder entry level bikes I should consider?

I'd be ok to spend up to about $800, but don't want to go too overboard as I'm just starting out.